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Independence

A rural gem in the heart of an exploding metropolis


 

INDEPENDENCE

“The gem”

Independence is a city located in Hennepin County.  The city has a total area of 34.56 square miles including 2.19 square miles located on water. Independence Township was formed in 1858 and it became the Village of Independence in 1957 and the city of Independence in 1974. The area was named by an excursionist, Kelsey Hinman, in 1881 in ode to the Fourth of July.  

The city of Independence refers to itself as a “gem” of a “rural city in the heart of an exploding metropolis.” The rolling fields, wetlands, lakes, ponds, and unique homes make Independence a lovely city.  

Some of the area’s most beautiful horse farms are located in Independence. The Zuhrah Shrine Horse Patrol has its farm facility in Independence. Also, the Twin CIties Polo Club is located in Independence and it's a wonderful spot to spend an afternoon watching the athletic horses, talented riders, and enjoying a picnic lunch under the warm summer sun. 

Independence is also home to one of Minnesota’s top five golf courses- Windsong Farm Golf Club.  This Tom Lehman designed golf course has even received acclaim from Golf Digest Magazine.

YMCA operates a very popular camp, Camp Ihduhapi, in Independence. The camp is located on Lake Independence and is a popular summer camp for children all over the Midwest.
Another jewel of Independence is Baker Park Reserve. Baker Park Reserve offers 2,700 acres of natural landscape, a golf course (both 18 and 9 holes), camping, cross country skiing, sledding and so much more. The sheer beauty of Baker Park Reserve makes it worthy of a stop. The clubhouse was recently built and is gorgeous.

Independence does not have any lakeshore on Lake Minnetonka, but it does have three lakes of its own. Lake Independence is a 844 acre boatable lake that has many homes on its shores. Lake Sarah is another lake in Independence and is 552 acres. This lake is primarily used for boating, fishing, and aesthetic viewing. Lake Sarah also has homes on its shores. Lake Rebecca is a 256 acre lake and is considered the geographical heart of the Three River Park District. There is no lakeshore development on Lake Rebecca. There are a lot of options for exploring in the Park District with walking trails, a beach, a large park, fields for games, canoeing, boating, snowshoeing, horseback riding trails, a dog park, and camping. Often in the days leading up to summer, you will find a lot of local students on field trips enjoying the amenities of Lake Rebecca.    


INSIDER TIPS

Dining and Retail
Independence has a lot to offer in the Dining and Retail department. Independence is home to a lot of business headquarters including the Zurah Shriners horse operations.

Independence is close Delano, which has a large shopping center. Maple Plain is also located next to Independence and boasts the popular pub McGarry’s and Blackwater Coffee. Its close proximity to retail and dining make it an ideal retreat from the city without sacrificing any the creature comforts of city life.    


INDEPENDENCE SCHOOLS

The city of Independence is served by four public school districts: Westonka, Orono, Delano and Rockford.  

Mound Westonka School District is an award winning school district with so much to offer its students. They offer small school size advantage with knowing every child by name and making sure each child has the opportunity to succeed while still offering the big school opportunities with award winning arts, academics and athletic programs.  

The Westonka School District serves approximately 2,300 students grades preK through twelve. They have, for the past 15 years, have been “Best in State” in MCA Performance. Westonka scored in the Top 10 Districts in the state on the 2017 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. Overall, Westonka is ranked #4 in the state in math and #6 in the state in reading.

Schools
  • Hilltop Primary School (preK-4)
  • Shirley Hills Primary School (preK-4)
  • Grandview Middle School (5-7)
  • Mound Westonka High School (8-12)

Orono School District is a top rated school district (#2 in the state) that serves Minnetonka Beach, Independence, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Medina and Orono.  

Orono Schools are unique in many different ways. Starting at a single campus setting (all schools are located within walking distance of each other), the campus is nestled against 2,000 feet of lakeshore, and it sits on a serene natural setting. The school district is small in number of students but big in achievements.

Orono High School makes the top of the "best" lists including being named on America's Top High Schools (Newsweek), Top high Schools (Daily Beast), America's Most Challenging High Schools (the Washington Post), and Best High Schools/Gold Medal Winner (US News & World Report). In additions the district was named a National District of Character by the Character Education Partnership. Orono not only excels in academics; there is a robust athletics program, arts & music program, and other extracurricular activities to meet everyone's needs.

Schools within the Orono School District
  • Schumann Elementary
  • Intermediate School
  • Orono Middle School
  • Orono High School

Delano School District was originally established in the 1800’s and covers a 66 square mile geographical area that includes Corcoran, Independence, Loretto, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetrista, Montrose, Watertown, parts of Franklin, Rockford and Woodland townships, and the city of Delano.  

The district has roughly 2,470 students and employs more than 370 staff members. Over 70% of Delano School District faculty hold a master’s degree or higher.  In addition to having highly educated faculty members, Delano has made a commitment to updating all the grounds of their schools and building a new intermediate school for grades four through six.    

True to most of Lake Minnetonka’s school districts, Delano is an award winning district. The district consistently received the Minnesota Department of Education’s School Finance Award for being financially responsible. The elementary school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013 and the school district has consistently been named a Reward School by the Minnesota Department of Education. Delano high school students test in the top across the nation on their ACT each year. And Delano students substantially exceed the state averages in math, science, and reading scores on the standardized tests each year.  

Schools
  • Delano Elementary School
  • Delano Middle School
  • Delano High School 

Rockford School District serves the communities of Buffalo, Rockford, Greenfield, Corcoran and Independence. The district has a student population of 1,650.  

Rockford has two unique schools: the elementary arts magnet and the center for environmental studies in the middle school.  The elementary school has a focus on arts infusion. Students experience the artistics disciplines of dance, music, visual art, literary arts and media arts. Their focus is on a strong academic core with endless opportunity for the students to express themselves creatively. The middle school goes beyond the traditional curriculum in STEM and offers students opportunity to engage in hands-on, project based learning through Exploratory classes centered on STEM standards.    

Rockford has been recognized both locally and nationally for their one student at a time approach. The Crow River News named Rockford High School as the 2016 Readers Choice Best Public School and also named a Green Ribbon School by the US Department of Education.  

Schools in Rockford School District
  • Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School
  • Rockford Middle School Center for Environmental Studies
  • Rockford High School 

REAL ESTATE INSIGHTS

With plenty of elbow room, the prospects of either new construction or a large estate Independence buyers typically are looking for their dream home. It is not uncommon to see sport courts, swimming pools, out buildings and horse estates in Independence with the majority of homes being larger than 4,000 square feet. The average Independence homes sold in 2017 for $540,228 with 156 days on market.